tv 1984 Presidential Debate CSPAN September 30, 2012 1:00am-2:30am EDT
path. we also have to recognize that 95 peff of the world's people live outside this country. so is it we want good take-home pay and good jobs we need to grow more things and make more things in america and sell them overseas. that means we need trade that works for us. we need to open up markets. we need to hold people accountable when they try to take our intellectual property. we need trade that works for us. you know, another thing, and i have to tell you, you cannot row this -- grow this chi economy if you -- you cannot grow this economy if you do not realize most of our jobs in this country come from small businesses. we need to make sure that small businesses, when we are taking a risk, that government is not going to pull the rug out from under them.
talk to a manufacturer. talk to somebody that was just hanging on, hoping they don't have the lay-off, the next round of people. what do they see? regulation after regulation after regulation coming from washington. they have no idea what it is going to cost them. they are worried about going forward because of all these second thoughts, then they see a president passing a tax rate on small businesses above 40%. that one tax only pays for 8% of his proposed deficit spending. so this idea, look, overseas, which where i come from means lake superior. we both live near canada, right? the canadians have this figured out. the canadians lowered their taxes to 15%. president obama wants to tax our
successful small businesses to go above 40%? when we tax our job creators at much higher tax rates than our foreign competitors tax theirs, they win, we lose. we have to get right with the idea that our jobs come from successful small businesses. we don't want to tax them more, we don't want to regulate them more, we want them to hire more. that is essential. [applause] and none of this is going to work. no business is going to be confident to take that risk to hire people, to advance people, to give people promotions and raises and job security if they see their government borrowing and spending like it is. we can't keep borrowing 36 cents of every dollar our government spends. we can't keep the federal reserve doing what it's doing.
we cannot keep looking our children in the eyes knowing that we're going to give them a diminished future because we are spending their money today. it is a very simple idea. mitt romney and i are going to bring it to washington. we have got to stop spending money we don't have. we must cut spending. we must get this budget balanced. we must get this debt under control. this debt not only hurts our economy today, with the threat of higher interest rates, with the threat of a losing dollar, with the threat of higher tax rates we know we are giving children a diminished standard of living. we have never done that before in this country. my dad said a number of things, and a couple of them stuck with me. number one, he would say to me, son, you are either part of the
problem or part of the solution. you know what? president obama has become part of the problem, and mitt romney is the solution. the other thing he is, in this country, every generation of americans fixes their problems so they can leave the next generation better off. for the first time in the history of our country we know if we stick with these failed policies of the last four years, we will guarantee our children get a diminished future. we cannot allow that to happen. it is our moral obligation to save the american dream for our children and our grandchildren. [applause]
take a look at mitt romney's record. you will know he is the man to lead us. mitt romney knows firsthand what it takes to grow the economy, to grow businesses, to create jobs. he's helped create 10's of thousands of jobs. by the way, being successful in business, that's a good thing! we admire that! we don't envy that. we don't resent that. we want more of that! we want successful people! this is the kind of spirit we need. we have a history of -- he is a man who has taken tough challenges and turning them around. the olympics is part of that. but you know just over the border in massachusetts, that is not a ruby red republican state. this is a republican who was
governor of a democratic state. 87% of the legislators he served with who are in the legislature were democrats. dep he demonize -- did he demonize and demagogue? no, he treated people with respect. he reached across the aisle and he balanced the budget without raising taxes. that's the kind of leadership we need. under president obama, household income, families in america, have gone down by more than $4,000 over the last four years. the middle class is shrinking and falling behind. under mitt romney, when he was governor of massachusetts, household income went up $5,000. look at what president obama did on the budget. nothing except borrow and spend. and as a result of the president's abdication of
leadership. as a result of seeing the most predictable economic crisis in our country's history and not fixing it, our credit rating was downgraded for the first time in our history. when mitt romney was government, the credit rating of the state was upgraded. that'sed kind of change we will get with a mitt romney presidency. [applause] we need to tackle our nation's challenges before they tackle us. we need to strengthen social security, and we are putting the ideas on the table. we are not going to try to scare seniors, we are going to try to save benefits for seniors so that these promises are kept. we believe in a strong national defense, and we don't agree with the president's reckless and devastating defense cuts, because we believe in peace through strength. [cheers and applause]
we also believe, and in the live free or die state, we know we want to be free to choose our own medical care, and in order to do that, we have to repeal and replace obama care. the choice is clear. we can either stick with the failed policies of the last four years for the next four years, which gives us a stagnant economy and fosters government dependency, or we can fix these problems, bring the leadership that we are sorely lacking, and that have dynamic growing economy that produces opportunity, upward mobility, self-sufficiency, and economic growth. higher take-home pay, a stronger middle class. getting people out of poverty, bk to the middle class, and growing economic security. this is do-able. this is right in front of us. we can do this. you know, this election is not just about these material issues.
this election is about the fiber of our society. this election is about the kind of people we are going to be, the kind of country we're going to have. this country is an idea. that's something we can never forget. it is not new hampshire to california or florida to wisconsin. it is not just a nation with a flag. it is the only nation founded on an idea. that idea is very precious, but that idea can slip away from us if each generation doesn't defend the idea. the idea is very precious. the declaration of independence said it better than anybody can say it. our rights come from nature and nature's god, not from government. the minute we forget that idea, the minute we fore-- forget our country. our founders put that on the
uniform so we can live in peace and freedom. and we thank them for what they have done to give us this country. [cheers and applause] that's why we have to win. that's why we're going to win. look. winston churchill said it best. "the americans can be counted upon to do the right thing, but only after they have exhausted all other possibilities." i think that's where we are. we are at that fork in the road. we have a choice to make. mitt romney and i are giving you a choice. it is a very clear choice of two different futures. you know what? it is not too late to get this right. it is not too late to turn this economy around. it is not too late to secure for our children the promise of america that our parents secured for us. we can do this.
we can get this together. we can put this together. and together we can get this done. and you know what? granite staters, you have an norm responsibility and an enormous opportunity. a handful of states will settle this. you understand this. you have had presidential candidates in your kitchens. you are used to this. that's why you know the responsibility that you have. you have a responsibility to talk to your fellow citizens, to get those people that like the promise of home hope and change four years ago that are demoralized now to show them we have a better path. we are going to reapply founding principles. we are not going to duck the tough issues. we are going to lead. mitt romney is not going to spend the next four years blaming other people, he's going to take responsibility. we will not replace our founding principles, we will reapply our
♪ >> next we'll show you the 1984 presidential debate between ronald reagan and walter mondale. then the debate between bill clinton and ross perot. then a debate in the missouri senate race. >> september 11 is a day that changed my life, it changed your life as well. i'm going to go through what transpired that day. it gets very intense. a lot of things happened very quickly. i will do my best not to ramble on and go too fast.
i would ask you to sit back, clear your minds, and put yourself in that room, and you will get an idea what it was like to be at the top of the food chain, the national command authority as a nation of 300 million americans was attacked by 19 al-qaeda terrorists. >> more from retired lieutenant colonel robert darling "inside the president's bunker" this weekend on c-span 3. >> the reason i like it, is it because c-span just gives you the news straight up. it is, i would say, one of the most historical archives there are. i primarily watch "washington journal" house of representatives proceedings,
c-span 2. >> jake young watches c-span on wow. c-span created by america's cable companies brought to you as a public service by your television provider. >> now a debate from the 1984 presidential campaign. president ronald rgian was running for re-- reagan was running for re-election that year against walter mondale. the first of two presidential debates that year. it took place in louisville, kentucky. all the debates were sponsored by the league of women voters. abc, nbc, and cbs aired this debate on october 7 and drew over 65 million viewers, according to neilson. this is about an hour and 40 minutes.
>> good evening from the kentucky center for the arts in louisville, kentucky. i'm dorothy ridings, president of the league of women voters, the sponsor of tonight's first presidential debate between republican ronald reagan and democrat walter mondale. tonight's debate marks the third consecutive presidential election in which the league is presenting the candidates for the nation's highest office in face-to-face debate. our panelists are james wieghart, national political
correspondent for scripps-howard news service, diane sawyer, correspondent for the cbs program 60 minutes,' and fred barnes, national political correspondent for the baltimore sun. barbara walters of abc news, who is appearing in her fourth presidential debate, is our moderator. barbara. >> thank you, dorothy. a few words as we begin tonight's debate about the format. the position of the candidates -- that is, who answers questions first and who gives the last statement -- was determined by a toss of a coin between the two candidates. mr. mondale won, and that means that he chose to give the final closing statement. it means, too, that the president will answer the first question first. i hope that's clear. if it isn't, it will become clear as the debate goes on. further, the candidates will be addressed as they each wanted and will, therefore, be called "mr. president' and "mr. mondale.' since there will also be a second debate between the two presidential candidates, tonight will focus primarily on the economy and other domestic issues. the debate, itself, is built around questions from the panel. in each of its segments, a
reporter will ask the candidates the same general question. then -- and this is important -- each candidate will have the chance to rebut what the other has said. and the final segment of the debate will be the closing segment, and the candidates will each have 4 minutes for their closing statements. and as i have said, mr. mondale will be the last person on the program to speak. and now i would like to add a personal note if i may. as dorothy ridings pointed out, i have been involved now in four presidential debates, either as a moderator or as a panelist. in the past, there was no problem in selecting panelists. tonight, however, there were to have been four panelists participating in this debate. the candidates were given a list of almost 100 qualified journalists from all the media and could agree on only these three fine journalists. as moderator, and on behalf of my fellow journalists, i very much regret, as does the league
of women voters, that this situation has occurred. and now let us begin the debate with the first question from james wieghart. mr. wieghart. >> mr. president, in 1980 you promised the american people -- in your campaign -- a balanced budget by 1983. we've now had more and bigger deficits in the 4 years you've been in office. mr. president, do you have a secret plan to balance the budget sometime in a second term, and if so, would you lay out that plan for us tonight? >> i have a plan -- not a secret plan. as a matter of fact, it is the economic recovery program that we presented when i took office in 1981. it is true that earlier, working with some very prominent economists, i had come up, during the campaign, with an economic program that i thought could rectify the great problems confronting us -- the
double-digit inflation, the high tax rates that i think were hurting the economy, the stagflation that we were undergoing. before even the election day, something that none of those economists had even predicted had happened, that the economy was so worsened that i was openly saying that what we had thought on the basis of our plan could have brought a balanced budget -- no, that was no longer possible. so, the plan that we have had and that we are following is a plan that is based on growth in the economy, recovery without inflation, and reducing the share that the government is taking from the gross national product, which has become a drag on the economy.
already, we have a recovery that has been going on for about 21 months to the point that we can now call it an expansion. under that, this year, we have seen a $21 billion reduction in the deficit from last year, based mainly on the increased revenues the government is getting without raising tax rates. our tax cut, we think, was very instrumental in bringing about this economic recovery. we have reduced inflation to about a third of what it was. the interest rates have come down about 9 or 10 points and, we think, must come down further. in the last 21 months, more than 6 million people have gotten jobs -- there have been created new jobs for those people to where there are now 105 million civilians working, where there were only 99 million before, 107, if you count the military. so, we believe that as we continue to reduce the level of government spending -- the increase, rate of increase in government spending, which has come down from 17% to 6%, and, at the same time, as the growth in the economy increases the revenues the government gets,
without raising taxes, those two lines will meet. and when they meet, that is a balanced budget. >> mr. president, the congressional budget office has some bad news. the lines aren't about to meet, according to their projections. they project that the budget deficit will continue to climb. in the year 1989 they project a budget deficit of $273 billion. in view of that, and in view of the economic recovery we are now enjoying, would it make sense to propose a tax increase or take some other fiscal measures to reduce that deficit now, when times are relatively good?
>> the deficit is the result of excessive government spending. i do not, very frankly, take seriously the congressional budget office projections, because they have been wrong on virtually all of them, including the fact that our recovery wasn't going to take place to begin with. but it has taken place. but, as i said, we have the rate of increase in government spending down to 6%. if the rate of increase in government spending can be held at 5% -- we're not far from there -- by 1989 that would have reduced the budget deficits down to a $30 or $40 billion level. at the same time, if we can have a 4% recovery continue through that same period of time, that will mean -- without an increase in tax rates -- that will mean $400 billion more in government revenues. and so, i think that the lines can meet. actually, in constant dollars, in the domestic side of the budget, there has been no spending increase in the 4 years that we have been here. >> mr. mondale, the carter-mondale administration
didn't come close to balancing the budget in its 4 years in office either, despite the fact that president carter did promise a balanced budget during his term. you have proposed a plan combining tax increases and budgetary cuts and other changes in the administration of the government that would reduce the projected budget deficit by two-thirds, to approximately $87 billion in 1989. that still is an enormous deficit that will be running for these 4 years. what other steps do you think should be taken to reduce this deficit and position the country for economic growth? >> one of the key tests of leadership is whether one sees
clearly the nature of the problems confronted by our nation. and perhaps the dominant domestic issue of our times is what do we do about these enormous deficits. i respect the president, i respect the presidency, and i think he knows that. but the fact of it is, every estimate by this administration about the size of the deficit has been off by billions and billions of dollars. as a matter of fact, over 4 years, they've missed the mark by nearly $600 billion. we were told we would have a balanced budget in 1983. it was $200 billion deficit instead. and now we have a major question facing the american people as to whether we'll deal with this deficit and get it down for the sake of a healthy recovery. virtually every economic analysis that i've heard of, including the distinguished congressional budget office, which is respected by, i think, almost everyone, says that even with historically high levels of
economic growth, we will suffer a $263 billion deficit. in other words, it doesn't converge as the president suggests. it gets larger even with growth. what that means is that we will continue to have devastating problems with foreign trade. this is the worst trade year in american history by far. our rural and farm friends will have continued devastation. real interest rates -- the real cost of interest -- will remain very, very high, and many economists are predicting that we're moving into a period of very slow growth because the economy is tapering off and may be a recession. i get it down to a level below 2% of gross national product with a policy that's fair. i've stood up and told the american people that i think it's a real problem, that it can destroy long-term economic growth, and i've told you what i think should be done. i think this is a test of
leadership, and i think the american people know the difference. >> mr. mondale, one other way to attack the deficit is further reductions in spending. the president has submitted a number of proposals to congress to do just that, and in many instances the house, controlled by the democrats, has opposed them. isn't it one aspect of leadership for prominent democrats such as yourself to encourage responsible reductions in spending, and thereby reduce the deficit? >> absolutely, and i proposed over a hundred billion dollars in cuts in federal spending over 4 years, but i am not going to cut it out of social security and medicare and student assistance and things -- -- that people need.
these people depend upon all of us for the little security that they have, and i'm not going to do it that way. the rate of defense spending increase can be slowed. certainly we can find a coffeepot that costs something less than $7,000. and there are other ways of squeezing this budget without constantly picking on our senior citizens and the most vulnerable in american life. and that's why the congress, including the republicans, have not gone along with the president's recommendations. >> i would like to ask the audience please to refrain from applauding either side, it just takes away from the time for your candidates. and now it is time for the rebuttal. mr. president, 1 minute for rebuttal. >> yes.
i don't believe that mr. mondale has a plan for balancing the budget, he has a plan for raising taxes. and, as a matter of fact, the biggest single tax increase in our nation's history took place 1977. and for the 5 years previous to our taking office, taxes doubled in the united states, and the budgets increased $318 billion. so, there is no ratio between taxing and balancing a budget. whether you borrow the money or whether you simply tax it away from the people, you're taking the same amount of money out of the private sector, unless and until you bring down government's share of what it is taking. with regard to social security, i hope there'll be more time than just this minute to mention that, but i will say this -- a president should never say "never.' but i'm going to violate that rule and say "never.' i will never stand for a reduction of the social security benefits to the people that are now getting them. >> mr. mondale? >> well, that's exactly the commitment that was made to the american people in 1980 -- he
would never reduce benefits. and of course, what happened right after the election is they proposed to cut social security benefits by 25% -- reducing the adjustment for inflation, cutting out minimum benefits for the poorest on social security, removing educational benefits for dependents whose widows were trying -- with widows trying to get them through college. everybody remembers that, people know what happened. there's a difference. i have fought for social security and medicare and for things to help people who are vulnerable all my life, and i will do it as president of the united states. >> thank you very much. we'll now begin with segment number two with my colleague, diane sawyer. ms. sawyer? >> mr. president, mr. mondale, the public opinion polls do suggest that the american people are most concerned about the
personal leadership characteristics of the two candidates, and each of you has questioned the other's leadership ability. mr. president, you have said that mr. mondale's leadership would take the country down the path of defeatism and despair, and vice president bush has called him whining and hoping for bad news. and, mr. mondale, you have said that president reagan offers showmanship, not leadership, that he has not mastered what he must know to command his government. i'd like to ask each of you to substantiate your claims -- mr. mondale first. give us specifics to support your claim that president reagan is a showman, not a leader, has not mastered what he must know to be president after 4 years, and then, second, tell us what personal leadership characteristics you have that he does not. >> well, first of all, i think the first answer this evening suggests exactly what i'm saying. there is no question that we face this massive deficit, and almost everybody agrees unless
we get it down, the chances for long-term, healthy growth are nil. and it's also unfair to dump these tremendous bills on our children. the president says it will disappear overnight because of some reason. no one else believes that's the case. i do, and i'm standing up to the issue with an answer that's fair. i think that's what leadership is all about. there's a difference between being a quarterback and a cheerleader, and when there's a real problem, a president must confront it. what i was referring to, of course, in the comment that you referred to was the situation in lebanon. now, for three occasions, one after another, our embassies were assaulted in the same way by a truck with demolitions. the first time -- and i did not criticize the president, because these things can happen -- once, and sometimes twice -- the second time the barracks in lebanon were assaulted, as we all remember.
there was two or three commission reports, recommendations by the cia, the state department, and the others, and the third time there was even a warning from the terrorists themselves. now, i believe that a president must command that white house and those who work for him. it's the toughest job on earth, and you must master the facts and insist that things that must be done are done. i believe that the way in which i will approach the presidency is what's needed, because all my life that has been the way in which i have sought to lead. and that's why in this campaign i'm telling you exactly what i want to do. i am answering your questions. i am trying to provide leadership now, before the election, so that the american people can participate in that decision.
>> you have said, mr. mondale, that the polls have given you lower ratings on leadership than president reagan because your message has failed to get through. given that you have been in public office for so many years, what accounts for the failure of your message to get through? >> well, i think we're getting better all the time. and i think tonight, as we contrast for the first time our differing approach to government, to values, to the leadership in this country, i think as this debate goes forward, the american people will have for the first time a chance to weigh the two of us against each other. and i think, as a part of that process, what i am trying to say will come across, and that is that we must lead, we must command, we must direct, and a president must see it like it is. he must stand for the values of decency that the american people stand for, and he must use the
power of the white house to try to control these nuclear weapons and lead this world toward a safer world. >> mr. president, the issue is leadership in personal terms. first, do you think, as vice president bush said, that mr. mondale's campaign is one of whining and hoping for bad news? and second, what leadership characteristics do you possess that mr. mondale does not? >> well, whether he does or not, let me suggest my own idea about the leadership factor, since you've asked it. and, incidentally, i might say that with regard to the 25-percent cut in social security -- before i get to the answer to your question -- the only 25-percent cut that i know of was accompanying that huge 1977 tax increase, was a cut of 25% in the benefits for every american who was born after 1916. now, leadership. first of all, i think you must have some principles you believe in.
in mine, i happen to believe in the people and believe that the people are supposed to be dominant in our society -- that they, not government, are to have control of their own affairs to the greatest extent possible, with an orderly society. now, having that, i think also that in leadership -- well, i believe that you find people, positions such as i'm in who have the talent and ability to do the things that are needed in the various departments of government. i don't believe that a leader should be spending his time in the oval office deciding who's going to play tennis on the white house court. and you let those people go with the guidelines of overall policy, not looking over their shoulder and nitpicking the manner in which they go at the job.
you are ultimately responsible, however, for that job. but i also believe something else about that. i believe that -- and when i became governor of california, i started this, and i continue it in this office -- that any issue that comes before me, i have instructed cabinet members and staff they are not to bring up any of the political ramifications that might surround the issue. i don't want to hear them. i want to hear only arguments as to whether it is good or bad for the people -- is it morally right? and on that basis and that basis alone, we make a decision on every issue. now, with regard to my feeling about why i thought that his record bespoke his possible taking us back to the same things that we knew under the previous administration, his record is that he spoke in praise of deficits several times, said they weren't to be abhorred -- that, as a matter of fact, he at one time said he wished the deficit could be doubled, because they stimulate
the economy and helped reduce unemployment. >> as a followup, let me draw in another specific, if i could -- a specific that the democrats have claimed about your campaign -- that it is essentially based on imagery. and one specific that they allege is that, for instance, recently you showed up at the opening ceremony of a buffalo old-age housing project, when in fact, your policy was to cut federal housing subsidies for the elderly. yet you were there to have your picture taken with them. >> our policy was not to cut subsidies. we have believed in partnership, and that was an example of a partnership between, not only local government and the federal government but also between the private sector that built that particular structure. and this is what we've been trying to do, is involve the federal government in such partnerships. we are today subsidizing housing for more than 10 million people, and we're going to continue along that line. we have no thought of throwing people out into the snow, whether because of age or
need. we have preserved the safety net for the people with true need in this country, and it has been pure demagoguery that we have in some way shut off all the charitable programs or many of them for the people who have real need. the safety net is there, and we're taking care of more people than has ever been taken care of before by any administration in this country. >> mr. mondale, an opportunity for you to rebut. >> well, i guess i'm reminded a little bit of what will rogers once said about hoover. he said, "it's not what he doesn't know that bothers me, it's what he knows for sure that just ain't so.' the fact of it is -- the president's budget sought to cut social security by 25%. it's not an opinion, it's a fact. and when the president was asked the other day, "what do you want
to cut in the budget?', he said, "cut those things i asked for but didn't get.' that's social security and medicare. the second fact is that the housing unit for senior citizens that the president dedicated in buffalo was only made possible through a federal assistance program for senior citizens that the president's budget sought to terminate. so, if he'd had his way, there wouldn't have been any housing project there at all. this administration has taken a meat cleaver out, in terms of federal-assisted housing, and the record is there. we have to see the facts before we can draw conclusions. >> mr. president? >> well, let me just respond with regard to social security. when we took office, we discovered that the program that the carter-mondale administration had said would solve the fiscal problems of social security for the next 50 years wouldn't solve them for 5. social security was due to go bankrupt before 1983. any proposals that i made at that time were at the request of
the chairman, a democrat, of one of the leading committees, who said we have to do something before the program goes broke and the checks bounce. and so, we made a proposal. and then in 1982, they used that proposal in a demagogic fashion for the 1982 campaign. and 3 days after the election in 1982, they came to us and said, social security, we know, is broke. indeed, we had to borrow $17 billion to pay the checks. and then i asked for a bipartisan commission, which i'd asked for from the beginning, to sit down and work out a solution. and so, the whole matter of what to do with social security has been resolved by bipartisan legislation, and it is on a sound basis now for as far as you can see into the next century. >> mr. president, we begin segment number three with fred barnes. >> mr. president, would you describe your religious beliefs, noting particularly whether you consider yourself a born-again christian, and explain how these beliefs affect your presidential
decisions? >> well, i was raised to have a faith and a belief and have been a member of a church since i was a small boy. in our particular church, we did not use that term, "born again,' so i don't know whether i would fit that -- that particular term. but i have -- thanks to my mother, god rest her soul -- the firmest possible belief and faith in god. and i don't believe -- i believe, i should say, as lincoln once said, that i could not -- i would be the most stupid man in the world if i thought i could confront the duties of the office i hold if i could not turn to someone who was stronger and greater than all others. and i do resort to prayer. at the same time, however, i have not believed that prayer should be introduced into an election or be a part of a political campaign -- or religion a part of that campaign. as a matter of fact, i think religion became a part of this
campaign when mr. mondale's running mate said i wasn't a good christian. so, it does play a part in my life. i have no hesitancy in saying so. and, as i say, i don't believe that i could carry on unless i had a belief in a higher authority and a belief that prayers are answered. >> given those beliefs, mr. president, why don't you attend services regularly, either by going to church or by inviting a minister to the white house, as president nixon used to do, or someone to camp david, as president carter used to do? >> the answer to your question is very simple about why i don't go to church. i have gone to church regularly all my life, and i started to here in washington. and now, in the position i hold and in the world in which we live, where embassies do get blown up in beirut -- we're supposed to talk about that on the debate the 21st, i understand -- but i pose a threat to several hundred people if i go to church.
i know the threats that are made against me. we all know the possibility of terrorism. we have seen the barricades that have had to be built around the white house. and, therefore, i don't feel -- and my minister knows this and supports me in this position -- i don't feel that i have a right to go to church, knowing that my being there could cause something of the kind that we have seen in other places, in beirut, for example. and i miss going to church, but i think the lord understands. >> may i ask you, please -- -- may i ask the audience please to refrain from applause. fred, your second question. >> mr. mondale, would you describe your religious beliefs and mention whether you consider yourself a born-again christian,
and explain how those beliefs would affect your decisions as president? >> first of all, i accept president reagan's affirmation of faith. >> first of all, i accept president reagan's affirmation of faith. i'm sure that we all accept and admire his commitment to his faith, and we are strengthened, all of us, by that fact. i am a son of a methodist minister. my wife is the daughter of a presbyterian minister. and i don't know if i've been born again, but i know i was born into a christian family. and i believe i have sung at more weddings and more funerals than anybody ever to seek the
presidency. whether that helps or not, i don't know. i have a deep religious faith. our family does. it is fundamental. it's probably the reason that i'm in politics. i think our faith tells us, instructs us, about the moral life that we should lead. and i think we're all together on that. what bothers me is this growing tendency to try to use one's own personal interpretation of faith politically, to question others' faith, and to try to use the instrumentalities of government to impose those views on others. all history tells us that that's a mistake. when the republican platform
says that from here on out, we're going to have a religious test for judges before they're selected for the federal court, and then jerry falwell announces that that means they get at least two justices of the supreme court, i think that's an abuse of faith in our country. this nation is the most religious nation on earth -- more people go to church and synagogues than any other nation on earth -- and it's because we kept the politicians and the state out of the personal exercise of our faith. that's why faith in the united states is pure and unpolluted by the intervention of politicians. and i think if we want to continue -- as i do -- to have a religious nation, lets keep that line and never cross it.
>> thank you. mr. barnes, next question. we have time for rebuttal now. >> i think i have a followup. >> yes, i asked you if you did. i'm sorry --- >> yes, i do. >> --- i thought you waived it. >> yes, mr. mondale, you've complained, just now, about jerry falwell, and you've complained other times about other fundamentalists in politics. correct me if i'm wrong, but i don't recall your ever complaining about ministers who are involved in the civil rights movement or in the anti-vietnam war demonstrations or about black preachers who've been so involved in american politics. is it only conservative ministers that you object to? >> no.
what i object to -- -- what i object to -- what i object to is someone seeking to use his faith to question the faith of another or to use that faith and seek to use the power of government to impose it on others. a minister who is in civil rights or in the conservative movement, because he believes his faith instructs him to do that, i admire. the fact that the faith speaks to us and that we are moral people, hopefully, i accept and rejoice in. it's when you try to use that to undermine the integrity of private political -- or private religious faith and the use of the state is where -- for the most personal decisions in american life -- that's where i draw the line. >> thank you. now, mr. president,
rebuttal. >> yes, it's very difficult to rebut, because i find myself in so much agreement with mr. mondale. i, too, want that wall that is in the constitution of separation of church and state to remain there. the only attacks i have made are on people who apparently would break away at that wall from the government side, using the government, using the power of the courts and so forth to hinder that part of the constitution that says the government shall not only not establish a religion, it shall not inhibit the practice of religion. and they have been using these things to have government, through court orders, inhibit the practice of religion. a child wants to say grace in a school cafeteria and a court rules that they can't do it because it's school property. these are they types of things that i think have been happening in a kind of a secular way that have been eroding that separation, and i am opposed to that. with regard to a platform on the supreme court, i can only say one thing about that. i have appointed one member to the supreme court, sandra day o'connor. i'll stand on my record on that. and if i have the opportunity to appoint any more, i'll do it in the same manner that i did in selecting her. >> mr. mondale, your rebuttal, please. >> the platform to which the president refers, in fact, calls for a religious test in the selection of judges. and jerry falwell says that
means we get two or three judges. and it would involve a religious test for the first time in american life. let's take the example that the president cites. i believe in prayer. my family prays. we've never had any difficulty finding time to pray. but do we want a constitutional amendment adopted of the kind proposed by the president that gets the local politicians into the business of selecting prayers that our children must either recite in school or be embarrassed and asked to excuse themselves? who would write the prayer? what would it say? how would it be resolved when those disputes occur? it seems to me that a moment's reflection tells you why the
united states senate turned that amendment down, because it will undermine the practice of honest faith in our country by politicizing it. we don't want that. >> thank you, mr. mondale. our time is up for this round. we go into the second round of our questioning, begin again with jim wieghart. jim? >> after that discussion, this may be like going from the sublime to the ridiculous, but here goes. i have a political question for you, mr. mondale. polls indicate a massive change in the electorate, away from the coalition that has long made the democratic party a majority. blue-collar workers, young professionals, their children, and much of the middle class now regard themselves as independents or republican instead of democrats, and the gap -- the edge the democrats had in party registration seems to be narrowing. i'd like to ask you, mr. mondale, what is causing this? is the democratic party out of sync with the majority of americans? and will it soon be replaced as the majority party by the republicans?
what do you think needs to be done about it, as a democrat? >> my answer is that this campaign isn't over yet. and when people vote, i think you're going to see a very strong verdict by the american people that they favor the approach that i'm talking about. the american people want arms control. they don't want this arms race. and they don't want this deadly new effort to bring weapons into the heavens. and they want an american foreign policy that leads toward a safer world. the american people see this debt, and they know it's got to come down. and if it won't come down, the economy's going to slow down, maybe go into a recession. they see this tremendous influx and swamping of cheap foreign imports in this country that has
cost over 3 million jobs, given farmers the worst year in american history. and they know this debt must come down as well, because it's unfair to our children. the american people want this environment protected. they know that these toxic waste dumps should have been cleaned up a long time ago, and they know that people's lives and health are being risked, because we've had an administration that has been totally insensitive to the law and the demand for the protection of the environment. the american people want their children educated. they want to get our edge back in science, and they want a policy headed by the president that helps close this gap that's widening between the united states and europe and japan.
the american people want to keep opening doors. they want those civil rights laws enforced. they want the equal rights amendment ratified. they want equal pay for comparable effort for women. and they want it because they've understood from the beginning that when we open doors, we're all stronger, just as we were at the olympics. i think as you make the case, the american people will increasingly come to our cause. >> mr. mondale, isn't it possible that the american people have heard your message -- and they are listening -- but they are rejecting it? >> well, tonight we had the first debate over the deficit. the president says it'll disappear automatically. i've said it's going to take some work. i think the american people will draw their own conclusions. secondly, i've said that i will not support the cuts in social security and medicare and the rest that the president has proposed. the president answers that it didn't happen or, if it did, it was resolved later in a commission.
as the record develops, i think it's going to become increasingly clear that what i am saying and where i want to take this country is exactly where the country wants to go, and the comparison of approaches is such that i think will lead to further strength. >> mr. president, you and your party are benefiting from what appears to be an erosion of the old democratic coalition, but you have not laid out a specific agenda to take this shift beyond november 6th. what is your program for america for the next decade, with some specificity? >> well, again, i'm running on the record. i think sometimes mr. mondale's running away from his. but i'm running on the record of what we have asked for. we'll continue to try to get things that we didn't get in a program that has already brought the rate of spending of government down from 17% to 6.1%, a program of returning authority and autonomy to the local and state governments that has been unjustly seized by the federal government. and you might find those words
in a democratic platform of some years ago -- i know, because i was a democrat at that time. and i left the party eventually, because i could no longer follow the turn in the democratic leadership that took us down an entirely different path, a path of centralizing authority in the federal government, lacking trust in the american people. i promised, when we took office, that we would reduce inflation. we have, to one-third of what it was. i promised that we would reduce taxes. we did, 25% across the board. that barely held even with -- if it did that much -- with the gigantic tax increase imposed in 1977. but at least it took that burden away from them. i said that we would create jobs for our people, and we did -- 6 million in the last 20 or 21 months.
i said that we would become respected in the world once again and that we would refurbish our national defense to the place that we could deal on the world scene and then seek disarmament, reduction of arms, and, hopefully, an elimination of nuclear weapons. we have done that. all of the things that i said we would do, from inflation being down, interest rates being down, unemployment falling, all of those things we have done. and i think this is something the american people see. i think they also know that we had a commission that came in a year ago with a recommendation on education -- on excellence in education. and today, without the federal government being involved other than passing on to them, the school districts, the words from that commission, we find 35 states with task forces now dealing with their educational
problems. we find that schools are extending the curriculum to now have forced teaching of mathematics and science and so forth. all of these things have brought an improvement in the college entrance exams for the first time in some 20 years. so, i think that many democrats are seeing the same thing this democrat saw -- the leadership isn't taking us where we want to go. >> mr. president, much of what you said affects the quality of life of many americans -- their income, the way they live, and so forth -- but there's an aspect to quality of life that lies beyond the private sector which has to do with our neighborhoods, our cities, our streets, our parks, our
environment. in those areas, i have difficulty seeing what your program is and what you feel the federal responsibility is in these areas of the quality of life in the public sector that affects everybody, and even enormous wealth by one individual can't create the kind of environment that he might like. >> there are tasks that government legitimately should enforce and tasks that government performs well, and you've named some of them. crime has come down the last 2 years, for the first time in many, many decades that it has come down -- or since we've kept records -- 2 consecutive years, and last year it came down the biggest drop in crime that we've had. i think that we've had something to do with that, just as we have with the drug problem nationwide. the environment? yes, i feel as strongly as anyone about the preservation of the environment. when we took office, we found that the national parks were so dirty and contained so many hazards, lack of safety features, that we stopped buying additional park land until we
had rectified this with what was to be a 5-year program -- but it's just about finished already -- a billion dollars. and now we're going back to budgeting for additional lands for our parks. we have added millions of acres to the wilderness lands, to the game refuges. i think that we're out in front
we have seen premature births that are now grown-up, happy people going around. also, there is a strange dichotomy in this whole position about our courts ruling that abortion is not the taking of a human life. in california, sometime ago, a man beat a woman so savagely that her unborn child was born dead with a fractured skull, and the california state legislature unanimously passed a law that was signed by the then-democratic governor -- signed a law that said that any man who so abuses a pregnant woman that he causes the death of her unborn child shall be charged with murder. now, isn't it strange that that same woman could have taken the life of her unborn child, and it was abortion and not murder, but if somebody else does it, that's murder? and it used the term "death of the unborn child.' so, this has been my feeling about abortion, that we have a problem now to determine -- and all the evidence so far comes down on the side of the unborn child being a living human being. >> a two-part followup. do i take it from what you've said about the platform, then, that you don't regard the language and don't regard in your own appointments, abortion position a test of any kind for justices -- that it should be? and also, if abortion is made illegal, how would you want it enforced? who would be the policing units that would investigate? and would you want the women who have abortions to be prosecuted? >> the laws regarding that
always were state laws. it was only when the supreme court handed down a decision that the federal government intervened in what had always been a state policy. our laws against murder are state laws. so, i would think that this would be the point of enforcement on this. as i say, i feel that we have a problem here to resolve. and no one has approached it from that matter. it does not happen that the church that i belong to had that as part of its dogma. i know that some churches do. now, it is a sin if you're taking a human life. at the same time, in our judeo-christian tradition, we recognize the right of taking a human life in self-defense. and therefore, i've always believed that a mother, if medically it is determined that her life is at risk if she goes through with the pregnancy, she has a right then to take the life of even her own unborn child in defense of her own. >> mr. mondale, to turn to you, do you consider abortion a murder or a sin? and bridging from what president
reagan said, he has written that if society doesn't know whether life does -- human life, in fact, does begin at conception, as long as there is a doubt, that the unborn child should at least be given the benefit of the doubt and that there should be protection for that unborn child. >> this is one of the most emotional and difficult issues that could possibly be debated. i think your questions, however, underscore the fact there is probably no way that government should or could answer this question in every individual case and in the private lives of the american people. the constitutional amendment proposed by president reagan would make it a crime for a woman to have an abortion if she had been raped or suffered from incest. is it really the view of the american people, however you feel on the question of abortion, that government ought
to be reaching into your livingrooms and making choices like this? i think it cannot work, won't work, and will lead to all kinds of cynical evasions of the law. those who can afford to have them will continue to have them. the disadvantaged will go out in the back alley as they used to do. i think these questions are inherently personal and moral, and every individual instance is different. every american should be aware of the seriousness of the step. but there are some things that government can do and some things they cannot do. now, the example that the president cites has nothing to do with abortion. somebody went to a woman and nearly killed her. that's always been a serious crime and always should be a serious crime. but how does that compare with the problem of a woman who is raped? do we really want those decisions made by judges who've been picked because they will
agree to find the person guilty? i don't think so, and i think it's going in exactly the wrong direction. in america, on basic moral questions we have always let the people decide in their own personal lives. we haven't felt so insecure that we've reached for the club of state to have our point of view. it's been a good instinct. and we're the most religious people on earth. one final point -- president reagan, as governor of california, signed a bill which is perhaps the most liberal proabortion bill of any state in the union.
>> but if i can get you back for a moment on my point, which was the question of when human life begins -- a two-part followup. first of all, at what point do you believe that human life begins in the growth of a fetus? and second of all, you said that government shouldn't be involved in the decisions. yet there are those who would say that government is involved, and the consequence of the involvement was 1.5 million abortions in 1980. and how do you feel about that? >> the basic decision of the supreme court is that each person has to make this judgment in her own life, and that's the way it's been done. and it's a personal and private, moral judgment. i don't know the answer to when life begins. and it's not that simple, either. you've got another life involved. and if it's rape, how do you draw moral judgments on that?
if it's incest, how do you draw moral judgments on that? does every woman in america have to present herself before some judge picked by jerry falwell to clear her personal judgment? it won't work. >> i'm sorry to do this, but i really must talk to the audience. you're all invited guests. i know i'm wasting time in talking to you, but it really is very unfair of you to applaud -- sometimes louder, less loud -- and i ask you, as people who were invited here, and polite people, to refrain. we have our time now for rebuttal. mr. president. >> yes. well, with regard to this being a personal choice, isn't that what a murderer is insisting on, his or her right to kill someone because of whatever fault they think justifies that? now, i'm not capable, and i don't think you are, any of us, to make this determination that must be made with regard to human life.
i am simply saying that i believe that that's where the effort should be directed -- to make that determination. i don't think that any of us should be called upon here to stand and make a decision as to what other things might come under the self-defense tradition. that, too, would have to be worked out then, when you once recognize that we're talking about a life. but in this great society of ours, wouldn't it make a lot more sense, in this gentle and kind society, if we had a program that made it possible for when incidents come along in
which someone feels they must do away with that unborn child, that instead we make it available for the adoption? there are a million and a half people out there standing in line waiting to adopt children who can't have them any other way. >> mr. mondale. >> i agree with that, and that's why i was a principal sponsor of a liberal adoption law, so that more of these children could come to term, so that the young mothers were educated, so we found an option, an alternative. i'm all for that. but the question is whether this other option proposed by the president should be pursued. and i don't agree with it. since i've got about 20 seconds, let me just say one thing. the question of agriculture came up a minute ago. net farm income is off 50% in the last 3 years, and every farmer knows it. and the effect of these economic policies is like a massive grain embargo, which has caused farm
exports to drop 20%. it's been a big failure. i opposed the grain embargo in my administration. i'm opposed to these policies as well. >> i'm sitting here like the great schoolteacher, letting you both get away with things -- because one did it, the other one did it. may i ask in the future that the rebuttal stick to what the rebuttal is. and also, foreign policy will be the next debate. stop dragging it in by its ear into this one. now, having admonished you, i would like to say to the panel, you are allowed one question and one followup. would you try, as best you could, not to ask two and three -- i know it's something we all want to do -- two and three questions as part one and two and three as part two.
having said that, fred, it's yours. >> thank you. mr. mondale, let me ask you about middle-class americans and the taxes they pay. now, i'm talking not about the rich or the poor -- i know your views on their taxes -- but about families earning 25,000 to 45,000 a year. do you think that those families are overtaxed or undertaxed by the federal government? >> in my opinion, as we deal with this deficit, people from about $70,000 a year on down have to be dealt with very, very carefully, because they are the ones who didn't get any relief the first time around. under the 1981 tax bill, people making $200,000 a year got $60,000 in tax relief over 3 years, while people making $30,000 a year, all taxes considered, got no relief at all or their taxes actually went up. that's why my proposal protects everybody from $25,000 a year or
less against any tax increases, and treats those $70,000 and under in a way that is more beneficial than the way the president proposes with a sales tax or a flat tax. what does this mean in real life? well, the other day, vice president bush disclosed his tax returns to the american people. he's one of the wealthiest americans, and he's our vice president. in 1981 i think he paid about 40% in taxes. in 1983, as a result of these tax preferences, he paid a little over 12%, 12.8% in taxes. that meant he paid a lower percent in taxes than the janitor who cleaned up his office or the chauffeur who drives him to work. i believe we need some fairness. and that's why i've proposed what i think is a fair and a responsible proposal that helps protect these people who've already got no relief or actually got a tax increase. >> it sounds as if you are saying you think this group of taxpayers making 25,000 to 45,000 a year is already overtaxed, yet your tax proposal would increase their taxes. i think your aides have said those earning about 25,000 to 35,000, their tax rate would go up -- their tax bill would go up a hundred dollars, and from 35,000 to 45,000, more than that, several hundred dollars. wouldn't that stifle their incentive to work and invest and so on, and also hurt the recovery? >> the first thing is, everybody
25,000 and under would have no tax increase. mr. reagan, after the election, is going to have to propose a tax increase, and you will have to compare what he proposes. and his secretary of the treasury said he's studying a sales tax or a value-added tax. they're the same thing. they hit middle- and moderate-income americans and leave wealthy americans largely untouched. up until about $70,000, as you go up the ladder, my proposals will be far more beneficial. as soon as we get the economy on a sound ground as well, i'd like to see the total repeal of indexing. i don't think we can do that for a few years. but at some point, we want to do that as well. >> mr. president, let me try this on you. do you think middle-income americans are overtaxed or undertaxed? >> you know, i wasn't going to say this at all, but i can't help it. there you go again. i don't have a plan to tax -- or increase taxes. i'm not going to increase taxes. i can understand why you are, mr. mondale, because as a
senator you voted 16 times to increase taxes. now, i believe that our problem has not been that anybody in our country is undertaxed, it's that government is overfed. and i think that most of our people -- this is why we had a 25-percent tax cut across the board which maintained the same progressivity of our tax structure in the brackets on up. and, as a matter of fact, it just so happens that in the quirks of administering these taxes, those above $50,000 actually did not get quite as big a tax cut%age-wise as did those from 50,000 down. from 50,000 down, those people paid two-thirds of the taxes, and those people got two-thirds of the tax cut. now, the social security tax of '77 -- this indeed was a tax that hit people in the lower brackets the hardest. it had two features. it had several tax increases phased in over a period of time -- there are two more yet to come between now and 1989. at the same time every year, it increased the amount of money -- virtually every year, there may have been one or two that were skipped in there -- that was
subject to that tax. today it is up to about $38,000 of earnings that is subject to the payroll tax for social security. and that tax, there are no deductions, so a person making anywhere from 10, 15, 20 -- they're paying that tax on the full gross earnings that they have after they have already paid an income tax on that same amount of money. now, i don't think that to try and say that we were taxing the rich, and not the other way around, it just doesn't work out that way. the system is still where it was with regard to the progressivity, as i've said, and that has not been changed. but if you take it in numbers of dollars instead of%age, yes, you could say, well, that person got 10 times as much as this other person. yes, but he paid 10 times as much, also. but if you take it in%ages, then you find out that it is fair and equitable across the board.
>> i thought i caught, mr. president, a glimmer of a stronger statement there in your answer than you've made before. i think the operative position you had before was that you would only raise taxes in a second term as a last resort, and i thought you said flatly that "i'm not going to raise taxes.' is that what you meant to say, that you will not -- that you will flatly not raise taxes in your second term as president? >> yes, i had used -- "last resort' would always be with me. if you got the government down to the lowest level, that you yourself could say it could not go any lower and still perform the services for the people, and if the recovery was so complete that you knew you were getting the ultimate amount of revenues that you could get through that
growth, and there was still some slight difference there between those two lines, then i had said once that, yes, you would have -- >> yes, i had used -- "last resort' would always be with me. if you got the government down to the lowest level, that you yourself could say it could not go any lower and still perform the services for the people, and if the recovery was so complete that you knew you were getting the ultimate amount of revenues that you could get through that growth, and there was still some slight difference there between those two lines, then i had said once that, yes, you would have to then look to see if taxes should not be adjusted. i don't foresee those things happening, so i say with great confidence i'm not going to go for a tax. with regard to assailing mr. bush about his tax problems and the difference from the tax he once paid and then the later tax he paid, i think if you looked at the deductions, there were great legal expenses in there -- had to do, possibly, with the sale of his home, and they had to do with his setting up of a
blind trust. all of those are legally deductions, deductible in computing your tax, and it was a 1-year thing with him. >> mr. mondale, here we go again. it's time for rebuttal. >> well, first of all, i gave him the benefit of the doubt on the house deal. i'm just talking about the 12.8% that he paid, and that's what's happening all over this country with wealthy americans. they've got so many loopholes they don't have to pay much in taxes. now, mr. president, you said, "there you go again,' right? >> yes. >> you remember the last time you said that? >> mm-hmm. >> you said it when president carter said that you were going to cut medicare, and you said, "oh, no, there you go again, mr. president.' and what did you do right after the election? you went out and tried to cut $20 billion out of medicare. and so, when you say, "there you go again' -- people remember this, you know. and people will remember that you signed the biggest tax increase in the history of california and the biggest tax increase in the history of the united states, and what are you going to do?
you've got a $260 billion deficit. you can't wish it away. you won't slow defense spending, you refuse to do that --- >> mr. mondale, i'm afraid your time is up. >> sorry. >> mr. president? >> yes. with regard to medicare, no, but it's time for us to say that medicare is in pretty much the same condition that social security was, and something is going to have to be done in the next several years to make it fiscally sound. and, no, i never proposed any $20 billion should come out of medicare, i have proposed that the program we must treat with that particular problem. and maybe part of that problem is because during the 4 years of the carter-mondale administration medical costs in this country went up 87%. >> all right. fine. >> i gave you back some of that time. [laughter]